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English/WGST 2180: Female Futures

Reference Shelf: Guides to Science Fiction & Fantasy

Criticism: Scholarly Writing

Critical scholarly discussion of literature is published in journal articles, books, conference proceedings, and other publications. These are indexed in the following databases.

Why use these instead of Google or the libraries' Discover@MU search box?

  • These databases are more focused.
  • They're structured to improve searching.
  • Some of this content is not searchable outside of these databases.

The content of these databases overlaps to some degree, but each has unique material.

Criticism can also be found using library catalogs, the inventory of books in libraries.

The MERLIN catalog shows materials in the MU Libraries.

  • Catalogs do NOT search the full text of books, but a keyword search will search descriptions and tables of contents.
  • A subject search is more structured, but less specific. See this search on science fiction as a subject.
  • To find books ABOUT an author, do a subject search with surname first. See this search for books about Ursula K. Le Guin.

From the MERLIN catalog, you can follow a link to MOBIUS to find and request books from Missouri libraries.

Google Book Search searches the full text of many, many books so you can discover specific portions that library catalogs can't find. Although Google often can show only a portion of a book, it links to the catalog so you can see if the library has the book.

Book Reviews: Popular Writing

In contrast to scholarly writing, book reviews are more immediate and often reflect a more popular response to a work.

Why look for book reviews?

  • It can take years for scholarly work to be published, so recent books may not have much written about them yet.
  • You might want to look at the more popular response to a work, even if it was written long ago.

The following databases and print indexes will help you locate reviews of specific books or interviews with authors. The databases usually have a tick box or drop-down menu that allows you to limit your search to reviews or interviews.

Early Criticism & Reviews

To find reviews from 19th century and early 20th century periodicals, use these databases: